Chelle Summer

Intrinsic Value

Michelle Rusk

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole concept of sharing on social media. I enjoy sharing what I’ve created and I often hear from people who tell me they like to see what I’ve made. But it’s also easy to get caught up in the number of likes and comments, and of being disappointed when I thought I had something really fun to share. But yet it doesn’t get many likes.

So I took a little trip back in my memory of what life was like before I had social media to share my creations. And that reminded me of Bonnie.

Bonnie was my neighbor several houses ago and I often joked that we bonded at the sewing machine at night making quilts and assorted other things– nautical rope wreaths (we twisted my then-husband Joe to bring us rope back from a trip to Portland, Maine, where a company he sold for was based), potpourri, pillow covers, and quilts.

I always went over to Bonnie and Greg’s house in the evening, after dinner and first up was show and tell. With a cigarette in one hand, she’d have a stack of magazines and catalogs she had read and pages marked with something to show me (and C-Span playing on the television). Then we would venture into the large craft room at the back of the house behind the kitchen where she’d show me something she had made the previous week or had started a project we agreed to work on. I would bring anything I had done– although I was teaching high school at the time and didn’t have as much time as she did to create.

This was how I shared, or through emailing photos to people in my life or having a party at my house where people enjoyed seeing whatever it was that was new since their last visit.

The photo above is a portion of something she made for me, taking “things” from my life and attaching them to a crazy quilt, and, finally, framing it. It’s hung in one of the guest rooms in my house since she made it for me nearly twenty years ago.

But mostly creating was about my making my inner self happy– the intrinsic value. It was about what was inside, about making something, finishing it, standing up and holding it out and saying, “Yes, I like that.” That feeling of accomplishment inside me.

I’m very grateful that I can share whatever I’ve made to a larger audience. However, I always remind myself that it’s about how it makes me feel inside. I don’t ever want to forget the feeling of accomplishment for myself that has long driven me to where I am today.